Tag Archives: interior design

Let there be light: Nightstand transformation

As happens with home improvement projects, one thing leads to another and a single project turns into a dozen projects.

Longtime readers will recall the project my Beloved and I undertook two years ago that began with a wish for new curtains and ended with six colors of paint on every wall on the main floor, new carpeting and a new sofa (read about the beginning of that project here, and for your complete satisfaction, check out the before-and-after shots here, here, here, here and here).

So it went with repainting my Adored stepson’s bedroom.

His grandmother painted his bedroom when we moved in 2007. The room formerly belonged to a 3-year-old, and baby blue was not what my then-13-year-old stepson wanted, so Grandma repainted it in Chicago Bears blue and orange. Very dark blue. And very bright orange.

Alas, I don’t have a before picture, so you’ll just have to imagine its perfect garishness.

Adored stepson now attends college, so we decided a new paint job was in order. Well, I decided. My Beloved adores the Chicago Bears, so he probably would have tolerated it, but me? Not so much.

Still, Adored stepson comes home often so I couldn’t convince anyone to repaint the room in a nice coral (orange-ish, see?). Oh, well. So we repainted one of the very dark blue walls a slightly lighter shade of dark blue (Pittsburgh Paints’ Calvary if you must know). And the other dark blue wall and the two orange walls were transformed with Silver Blueberry, a smoky medium blue.

And as along as we were repainting the walls, well, the headboard would really pop against the dark blue wall if it were white instead of black, right? And, gee, the nightstand was just too dark, too, right? And if we brightened up the nightstand, we better repaint the dresser, too, huh? And get new lamps?


Today, I share with you the results of the nightstand makeover. I’ve discovered I love painting furniture. When one starts with a beat-up, unloved piece of wood, the payoff is enormous. Very satisfying.

Here’s the nightstand before:

Nightstand: Before

Nightstand: Before

The top is formica, not wood, so that required a coat of primer first and a couple of coats of Milk Paint (regular readers may recall I painted the body of another piece of furniture in Milk Paint, and if you’re interested in seeing that incredible transformation, click here).

I settled on painting the body of the nightstand in Ashen, sort of a grayish cream. The drawers are a bit lighter with Shalestone. Going from dark to light makes for a dramatic transformation. Here’s how it looks after:

Nightstand: After

Nightstand: After

I hated those clunky drawer pulls, so I invested in sleek new ones in a wavy brushed chrome. It required filling the old holes, with which I had uneven success, but I’m still happy with the results:

And check out those legs: A little Milk Paint accents the embellishment that was already there:

Nightstand leg: Close-up

Nightstand leg: Close-up

As long as I was already painting the nightstand, I also painted the dresser (twice as wide) in the same colors. And the mirror that hung above it now needs a shot of paint, too. I’ll share the dresser transformation as soon as I finish the mirror (later this week, I hope). And tomorrow, I’ll share the after photos of the repainted bedroom. Stay tuned.


The power of the hex head wrench

Not sure what a hex head wrench is? Otherwise known as an Allen wrench or Allen key?

hex head wrenchThen you haven’t put together any build-it-yourself furniture lately.

My Beloved has a garage full of tools of every size and type, flavor and color, but I assembled my new desk and chair all by myself with this little powerhouse. And a few grunts and groans. (OK, I used a Phillips screwdriver for fewer than a dozen screws, but that fact messes up my ode.)

Too often we cruise through our day without the proper respect for uncomplicated tools like can openers, pencils and puffy shower sponges. The simple hex head wrench helped me connect strange pieces and parts into, lo and behold, a comfy swirling, twirling office chair and a glass desk any design minimalist would love.

In the vein of this week’s theme of before-and-after photos (missed the previous entries in the office redecorating project? click herehere and here), here’s my desk area before, a perfectly functional dark wood desk and black office chair:

desk doorway before

And here’s the after:

desk doorway after

To be clear for copycats out there, my desk is actually TWO desks. The design offers a corner connector, but I didn’t want my desk to be that long on the side. And see that cigar box under my monitor? Phfft, that needs to go. I’m thinking maybe glass block; a trip to Menards is in store.

At least one online source confirms glass is an excellent symbol for career in feng shui (also, the position of my desk prevents invaders from entering the room and stabbing me in the back, which would be very, very bad feng shui). But probably my wisest decision for creating flow in my new office design was the one to remove the chaise lounge. That lounge chair, also known affectionately in our family as the therapy couch, served as a useful resting place for my Adored stepson when he was living with us a junior high school student. He spent many afternoons after school recounting his day and soaking up my attention and advice. But the chair was too big to keep (and the Adored stepson is now a college student who still soaks up my attention and advice, but far less frequently).

Thank you, hex head wrench, for the power you represent (and it’s pretty much disposable, too — a new one comes with every home assembly project).

Appreciating ingenious simplicity, indeed.